Top 10 winemakers to watch in Spain

PRIORAT

MASTER: ALVARO PALACIOS

Alvaro-PalaciosAlvaro Palacios was born with wine in his blood. While now inextricably linked with Priorat, the impish 50-year-old hails from the village of Alfaro in Rioja Baja. Studying in Bordeaux and working at the jewel in the crown of the Right Bank, Château Petrus, Palacios made it his mission to bring the French AOC classification system to Spain and have the country’s greatest terroirs officially recognised – a goal he’s still working towards.

For Palacios, wine is made in the vineyard. “I try to spend as much time as possible outside. The winery is where you conserve beauty of what you bring in from the vineyard,” he says.

His quest to express Spain’s unique terroir took him to Priorat, which he now calls home. The jewel in Palacios’ crown is L’Ermita, made from a 1.4 hectare plot in the village of Gratallops boasting mineral- rich llicorella soils planted with 70-year- old Garnacha vines.

With no more than 4,000 bottles produced each year, the wine is sold on allocation, with the latest vintage, 2013, selling for £1,000 a bottle. “It’s the richest expression of L’Ermita we’ve made since we started and has the character of a fuller-bodied grape than Garnacha,” he says.

In addition to his beloved Priorat, Palacios makes wine in Bierzo with his nephew Ricardo Perez Palacios, and is due to release a “game changing” Garnacha from his family estate Palacios Remondo in Rioja Baja next year. Determined to flag up Spain’s best terroirs, Palacios has fought hard to be allowed to use village names on his wine labels.

“I want my wines to be taken seriously and stand shoulder to shoulder with the best wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy,” he says. Ever restless, Palacios dreams of making fino in Jerez, though has yet to find the time to do it.

One Response to “Top 10 winemakers to watch in Spain”

  1. nate houston says:

    How is Raul Perez not a part of this list???? Or Alberto Orte???

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